Who’s Over Rated and Under Rated in the NHL (2015-2016)

Ramblings, Sports

I had to make this post.

Reading online postings, news articles, and the “pundits” opinions, I had to compile a list of who is over rated and under rated in the NHL and explain why. So you may ask, who qualifies? Well, players, teams, general managers, and coaches all do. Prepare to be enraged or smile.

Under Rated

I’ll start off with the positives. Who I believe is under rated in the National Hockey League.

The Vancouver Canucks

Reading online forums and opinions from fans, you would think the Vancouver Canucks will be a lottery team next year. The opposite is true, actually.

The year before fans said they would be a lottery team. What has changed? They have gotten rid of the misfits in their organization. Kevin Bieksa (I love him) with all due respect was terrible last year, Zack Kassian sucked, Eddie Lack was not a starter, and Nick Bonino was too inconsistent. Who is coming in for those guys?

Good guy Brandon Prust, good guy Brandon Sutter, top AHL goalie and prospect Jakob Markstrom, and lots of fast young guys.

No, this team will not suck. They will be decent and finish once again in the playoffs. The only logical reason you could say they miss is solely due to the fact you may believe a lot of their division rivals got better. Yes, the Oilers have gotten better and if they keep making the right moves, they will be a playoff team eventually. The Kings and Sharks are the true question mark.

The Minnesota Wild

A good core? Check. A well run organization? Check.

Fans think this team may also miss the playoffs after the Canucks. The furthest thing from the truth. They are a lock.

And they have a nice young core on the backend that includes names such as Matt Dumba and Jonas Brodin.

The only question is if Devan Dubnyk holds up. I feel behind that defense he has a chance to.

Coach Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning

I heard comments from people saying Jon Cooper of the Tampa Bay Lightning of the coach sucks.

What?

I would gladly let him coach my Canucks if Willie Desjardins was let go tomorrow. He is a damn good coach.

You take him off the Lightning and tell me how many coaches would get that team into the finals like they did last year. Seriously impressive, and he’s won everywhere he’s gone.

There is no way he sucks as a coach. I’d put him in my top five list of coaches.

Big Jake Virtanen

I have heard from many he is a bust or would be lucky to get in the top twenty this year in the NHL draft.

Wrong. He is the most NHL ready prospect I have seen from the 2014 draft that has yet to play a game.

He ragdolled guys in the AHL. Just because his point totals don’t make you raise your eyes doesn’t mean he is a bust.

He will play in this league and he will be good. Just watch. He will be like Cam Neely. He will be a goal scorer who can hit. He won’t be an elite playmaker but he can play.

Over Rated

Now here comes the boos. Prepare to be annoyed if you are a fan of any of these teams, players, or personnel.

The Buffalo Sabres (Tim Murray, their prospect pool, and shitty moves)

An easy choice quite frankly. And the top choice.

You would think reading forums that the Sabres were going to contend for the stanley cup or win multiple cups within five years.

Wrong.

The move for Ryan O’ Reilly was fucking stupid. Eight million for a guy who gets sixty points and does what else? At the expense of one of their youngest defensemen as well as top prospect Grigorenko?

The owner himself Mr. Terry Pegula said the last two seasons have been the most successful in Sabres history. What!?

And their starting goalie who they gave up a first round pick for Robin Lehner. Wow.

Watching Tim Murray whine about missing the first overall pick was great TV. Jack Eichel must be happy as hell to play for the next Edmonton Oilers organization.

This team is going to be a trainwreck, just watch.

Ted Nolan will be laughing his ass off when they do. He sure should have been fired (in a sarcastic tone I say that).

Tanking is never rewarded in the league, Tim. We should rename him and Terry Pegula to tweedle dee and tweedle dum.

The poor fans think they have a chance at the playoffs next year. Laugh my ass off.

The Winnipeg Jets (And their stupid prospect pool)

You would think reading comments from fans of the NHL that the Jets, just like the Sabres, will be champions in five years due to “the depth of their prospect pool”.

That is the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard.

One glance at their prospect pool will show you how that is a bold lie. There is not one player from their “prospect pool” I could say that “I want that guy on my team”.

Little Nik Ehlers who the Canucks passed on for a reason will be walloped when he reaches the big leagues. After that they have a slew of AHL players and fourth line players.

Congrats guys, you are well on your way to a few eighth seeds and first round exits for the next five years.

I love the fans of this team and I’m also a fan of the team, but seriously, a prospect pool full of depth doesn’t make a team a contender for the next ten years.

The Calgary Flames Offseason Moves (and somwhat…their potential)

I didn’t want to throw gasoline on the Flames and say their whole organization is over rated. I just find the moves they made this offseason…over rated.

Dougie Hamilton, Frolik from the Jets. Okay. Frolik will be an elite third liner. But claiming Dougie Hamilton is the answer to pushing them over the top could not be further from the truth.

Bruins fans hated this guy. He was a turnover machine last year. He is what this topic is about. He’s not a future Norris winner. He is average. A second pairing defenseman at best.

I also think Gaudreau and Monahan will not repeat the success they had last year. But that’s just me. Sam Bennett is coming in, though?

I can’t act bitter about this team since they owned my Canucks in the playoffs this last season. But there is something about them I can’t put my finger on. I really do see them as another Colorado. A lot of young talent that peaked one year and regressed the next. No way do they get as many come from behind wins as they did this last year.

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Predicting the 2015-2016 NFL Season

Sports

Preseason is just around the corner for the National Football League.

It’s that time of year to go ahead and make predictions. I will be wrong on a few things. I didn’t go through every teams schedule or single game to make these predictions. These are just based on how I feel the teams will do based on their additions over the offseason, their last season, or strength of schedule.

The teams with the toughest schedules this year are:

1. Pittsburgh Steelers: 147-107-2, .579
2. Cincinnati Bengals: 144-112, .563
3. San Francisco 49ers: 143-112-1, .561
4. Seattle Seahawks: 142-112-2, .559
5. Arizona Cardinals:142-113-1, .557

It’s not a shock three teams in the NFC west are in the top five, with the St. Louis Rams coming in at six.

So here we go.

AFC East Predictions

1. New England Patriots 12-4
2. Miami Dolphins 9-7
3. Buffalo Bills 8-8
4. New York Jets 5-11

Pretty obvious in my opinion. The Jets and Bills simply don’t have a quarterback. Credit to them for the moves they made elsewhere. I think both teams may have solid defenses as they both have the right personnel and offseason additions to vouch for that. But still, no quarterback, means not many wins. The Patriots (no brainer) and Dolphins both have quarterbacks who can win them games.

AFC North Predictions

1. Baltimore Ravens 11-5
2. Cincinnati Bengals 11-5
3. Pittsburgh Steelers 9-7
4. Cleveland Browns 6-10

The Browns could be even worse than I realize. Josh McCown flat out sucks. That is their quarterback? Their defense and coaching are the only positive things about that whole organization. The Steelers, Bengals, and Ravens are miles ahead of them in the regular season and in terms of how well run each organization is. I think all three of them have a good chance to make the postseason. Meanwhile in Cleveland…yeah, no comment.

AFC South Predictions

1. Indianapolis Colts 13-3
2. Houston Texans 11-5
3. Jacksonville Jaguars 5-11
4. Tennessee Titans 2-14

There’s simply no hope for the Titans. I feel they may have the worst roster in the league. Nothing to note on defense, nothing really on offense except young Marcus Mariota. He’s being put into a position to fail as far as I’m concerned. Meanwhile Jacksonville is cursed and mourning the loss of first round draft pick Dante Fowler. Blake Bortles should have a much better year than he did last year though. As for the Texans and Colts, they will keep feasting on the unfortunate two below them. The Texans upgraded at their brutal quarterback position while the Colts upgraded their offense and made a few defensive additions.

AFC West Predictions

1. Kansas City Chiefs 10-6
2. Denver Broncos 8-8
3. San Diego Chargers 8-8
4. Oakland Raiders 6-10

This is where I see things getting interesting in the league next year. I feel the Broncos will regress based on what we saw from them to end the year last year as well as their disastrous offseason this year. Such moves from them included the hiring of Gary Kubiak and Ryan Clady getting injured once again. Who will protect Peyton now?

The Chiefs are just getting better and better as far as I’m concerned. And the Chargers are the average Chargers. I do feel the Raiders will improve on their disastrous year last year. All that young talent and new coaching staff should tack on a few wins for them. In three years, look out, they may not be the laughing stock of the league anymore.

NFC East Predictions

1. Philadelphia Eagles 12-4
2. Dallas Cowboys 11-5
3. New York Giants 5-11
4. Washington Redskins 4-12

The Redskins are years away from being solid team. I give them props for hiring McLoughlan as new general manager. He has won every where he’s gone and if given the time, he will turn them into a winner. It simply won’t happen in one year. Bob Griffin is probably going to stay stinking up the joint.

Then there’s the Giants who haven’t done anything to note in the regular season in a while and it appears there may not be much time left for Tom Coughlin. The Cowboys and Eagles are simply the two better teams. Whoever wins the division will be a toss up between them. I went bold and chose the Eagles but if quarterback Sam Bradford goes down, Dallas may easily win it.

NFC North Predictions

1. Green Bay Packers 13-3
2. Detroit Lions 10-6
3. Minnesota Vikings 9-7
4. Chicago Bears 4-12

The Bears…nothing positive to note there but a new coaching staff. But how many coaches can Jay Cutler go through before he starts winning games for the Bears? Their defense looks atrocious as well on paper.

Meanwhile the Vikings, Lions, and Packers all either stayed the same or improved. The Vikings did not bad for a team with a new coach last season. The Lions and Packers stayed the same or made minor additions to pick up where they left off from last year.

NFC South Predictions

1. Carolina Panthers 9-7
2. Atlanta Falcons 8-8
3. New Orleans Saints 7-9
4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 6-10

Not sure how this division is going to exactly go. Don’t even be shocked if the Buccaneers manage to win it. Who knows how their offense will be with Jameis Winston at the helm or their defense with a season under their belt with new coach Lovie Smith.

NFC West Predictions

1. Seattle Seahawks 12-4
2. St. Louis Rams 10-6
3. Arizona Cardinals 10-6
4. San Francisco 49ers 4-12

Tough to predict this division as well. I think one thing is obvious: the Seahawks are the favourites to win the super bowl again this year and the 49ers have regressed.

It becomes a game of rotating the Rams or Cardinals. Jeff Fisher’s job is on the line this year. If they can’t improve from their 8-8 or 7-9 seasons, he could be gone. The talent is there, there is no excuse. The Cardinals meanwhile are a good team. It will be interesting to see how things end up between the two.

NFL Week One Thoughts and Maybe Slight Overreactions

Ramblings, Sports

So Sunday football is pretty much done. We have seen a majority of the teams play. With the exception of four that play tomorrow. The Cardinals .vs. Chargers (two evenly matched teams) and Lions .vs. Giants (another set of two possibly evenly matched teams).

After seeing a lot of these teams, I have a lot of thoughts…and maybe slight overreactions.

1. The Seahawks Have a Chance to Repeat

A no brainer here. They looked dominant against the Packers at home once again. Should be interesting to see how they do as the season progresses. They haven’t won at San Francisco in years, you can almost chalk that one up as a loss. They have to play Denver at home, who are tough in the regular season and in general. And they have to go play in Carolina, which I think could be a loss. Last years opening game in Carolina was very, very close. If this team gets in as a top seed, they could have a good chance to repeat. But there are a few teams in the NFC that they must be worried about.

2. The 49ers Are Still a Great Team

Many people thought this could be the year they regress, myself included. I saw them as a 10-6 team. They still look very good and sharp on defense. Tony Romo couldn’t get anything going. Their run game is still at the top of the league and they still can control the clock well. I hate to admit it but they will be battling Seattle for control of the division or as a top seed in the NFC. They still have a top five defense and guys such as Aldon Smith will eventually come back. There are a few tough games on their schedule but they look like they could be around 12-4 like they were last year.

3. Denver Has an Elite Defense This Year

Two years ago they had a very good defense and last year their defense flat out sucked. This year they have a good, clutch defense that can keep teams from scoring points. Their offense doesn’t look as crazy good as it did last year. I think they are once again the top team in the AFC and the team to beat there. Who will be their competition come postseason time? I’m not sure, but let’s not forget the Ravens were able to take them out two years ago. Any team can come in and take them out.

4. Atlanta and New Orleans are Two Evenly Matched Teams

I made the mistake saying Atlanta would be a terrible team this year. They look around the same level the Saints do. I predict both to be around 10-6 teams who are good on offense and not bad on defense. The Saints could have played much better on defense today.

5. Carolina Still Controls the NFC South

They picked up where they left off last year. They dominated Tampa Bay with their scrub second string quarterback Derek Anderson. Their defense is savage and physical as fuck. Cam Newton might not be the best player on this team; Luke Kuechly may be. I think the regression talk was exaggerated. They will win the NFC South division again in my eyes. Their defense can absolutely beat Atlanta and New Orleans at home and maybe on the road too.

6. Minnesota is a Good Team This Year

I was completely wrong about them. No way do they finish 2-14. They played great today and could be the team to give the Packers competition for the NFC north crown. I think the Lions and Bears are mediocre teams. The Vikings, if they play like they did today, can absolutely take out the Bears and Lions in the NFC North.

7. Houston Has a Top Ten Defense

They strangled Washington and looked strong on defense. They allowed just one touchdown. I am not so sure they will finish 4-12, they looked fine. They could be the best team in the AFC south along with the Colts.

8. Washington is the Worst Team in the League

I’m sorry but they looked like it today. RG3 has been figured out and I think by midseason we will see Cousins come in to play. Their defense is still awful and their quarterback is not a guy who was as dominant as he was when he first came in the league. I think they are the worst team after what I saw this week along with maybe the Cleveland Browns.

9. The Patriots Decade of Dominance May Be Nearing an End

I haven’t seen them play this poorly in a regular season game in years. Usually if they are down by a few points they are able to come back and make the game competitive. Brady and Belicheck just flat out gave up today when they were down. Miami beat them up in the trenches, on both sides of the ball. I think the game against the Vikings next week will be very interesting. For one, we will see if the Vikings are for real. And two, if the Patriots are bad this season. I saw a Patriots team that looked really poor today. They are a different animal at home but we will see…

Most Exciting Sport Teams To Watch

Sports

I’m definitely a bit biased towards teams, but here is a list of who I think the most exciting sports teams are.

Soccer: Real Madrid FC

They potted in four against Athletico Madrid in the UEFA champions league final in a matter of minutes and lit up Bayern Munich in their home town. If you are a soccer or club football fan, how is watching Gareth Bale not exciting? The dude is fast as hell and one of the worlds best. I thought at first it was a mistake by Real Madrid making him the highest paid player in the world. Boy was I wrong. Not to mention he has Cristiano Ronaldo to pass too, another one of the worlds best. People complain about soccer being boring and goalless all the time, well, watch these guys play and you will change your mind. They just added in young James Rodriguez who was robbed of the best player award at the last world cup. If he continues to play at a high level, man will this team be lethal. Easily the worlds best, I would not be shocked if they repeat as UEFA champions again.

Hockey: Dallas Stars or Anaheim Ducks (tie)

If you’ve seen my posts before or look at what my name is, you probably thought I would mention Vancouver. No, they were flat out boring last year. The title of the most exciting hockey team goes to either the Dallas Stars or Anaheim Ducks. Teams who have four lines who can score and good depth are always exciting. Not the teams who play a lame dump and chase style and rely on lucky bounces. Look out for the Dallas Stars next year. They added Jason Spezza who has been a point per game player since entering the league. Anaheim also added Ryan Kesler. He has scored a lot before, can he do it again?

Football: Denver Broncos or Philadelphia Eagles (tie)

The Philadelphia Eagles added Chip Kelly as coach. Boy were they exciting to watch. Talk about a team with energy. The no huddle offense is awesome to watch. That was Chip’s first year as well. In the year coming up I have no doubts he will adjust or add in a few new things which will be intriguing. As for the Denver Broncos, well, no brainer. Peyton Manning broke the touchdown record last year.

Basketball: San Antonio Spurs

I’m biased here but to me, they are the most exciting team to watch. You honestly can’t go wrong mentioning a bunch of teams for most exciting in the NBA. Defense is not very noticeable in the NBA today so a lot of teams look the same. The Spurs to me when they lit up the Miami Heat in the NBA finals or got through the Mavericks in seven games showed how exciting they were. Three pointers are awesome, and no team does it better than these guys. They have such a mix of talents too from the veteran Tim Duncan who is good on both sides of the ball to three point machine Patty Mills. No team makes so much out of nothing like the Spurs do in the case of players such as Danny Green and Patty Mills.

Canucks Gunning for the First Overall 2014 NHL Draft Pick?

Sports

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A poster on a popular hockey forum recently reported that Gary Mason of the Team 1040 in Vancouver claimed that three scouts have said Jim Benning (GM of the Vancouver Canucks) is going hard after the first overall pick to take Vancouver native Sam Reinhart.

As someone who follows the Canucks closely, I say this is a smart move. The Canucks have no prospect pool and a core that may be dying. They don’t want to follow the Calgary Flames footsteps where they held onto their core for way too long and became a doormat in the league. When you look at the Flames roster right now it’s amazing they did not finish dead last in the league. Getting 13th in the Western Conference this year should feel like the Stanley Cup for their fans.

I don’t follow Sam Reinhart closely but he does look like he has skills. He is said to be the best prospect in the draft but that could be easily debatable with Aaron Ekbald (a highly touted defenseman from the Ontario Hockey League) in the running. Still, the Canucks don’t need that potentially number one d-man five years down the road. They are fine on the back end. They need some firepower up front. The Sedins were turned into shot blocking grinders by Tortorella and have lost their touch. Kesler is slacking.

That might be who they need to cut ties with in order to get the first overall pick or a better roster before it’s too late. Ryan Kesler or Alex Edler. I still want to give Edler a chance. Perhaps Torts system was a disaster…well for everyone it was.

Analyzing Colin Kaepernick’s New Contract

Sports

Colin Kaepernick

NBC sports and the NFL is reporting that the San Francisco 49ers have just signed Colin Kaepernick to a six year extension worth up to $126 million with around $61 million guaranteed.

My first reaction was “wow”. Not a fan of the deal for the 49ers one bit (even though I don’t like them as a team). If they want to keep all their talent in tact that steals them games (which isn’t Kaepernick, it’s their front seven on defense as well as their star studded core on offense as well as the o-line) then this will handcuff them in a few years.

The only way it will look “good” is if Kaepernick improves gradually year by year, which he hasn’t shown signs of (yet). Someone brought up that Joe Flacco and Albert Haynesworth after getting their massive contracts had banner years as a sarcastic joke. That is indeed true.

When watching the 49ers play last year Kaepernick no doubt helped the offense control the clock with his running and their run game. However, he didn’t really take over many games unless they were against the weakest teams (and Green Bay, sorry). The front seven was the whole reason that team was as dominant as they were. It’s very hard to score touchdowns on them when they are playing lights out.

A 49ers fan however retorted with a good argument that this is in fact a good move by Baalke and co. due to the fact the Seahawks now may have to pay a ransom to Russell Wilson (who just won the superbowl). Perhaps, we will have to wait and see on that.

The 49ers and Hawks have two of the best defenses in the league when they are on and when you look at their offensive cores they are both quite star studded (Marshawn Lynch is slightly better than Frank Core while the 49ers receiving core is better than the Hawks slightly, etc). You could put an average quarterback behind either team and they would still be slightly above .500. The point being Wilson and Kaepernick are no Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, or Peyton Manning.

Until then, we will have to wait and see how this plays out. In a few years we may be laughing at the 49ers or watching them win multiple Lombardis.